You may be wondering if you should contest a will and how to do so. Read on for information that may help you make this decision.
Under what grounds can a will be overturned?
To contest a will, you must be materially connected either to the deceased or the property being distributed under the will. There are several recognized grounds for overturning a will, and you will need to demonstrate that at least one of these exists to be successful.
Fraud or undue influence
Fraud occurred when the distribution of property was made based on false information provided to the decedent to influence their decision. Undue influence is similar and is the result of mental coercion of the decedent.
Lack of capacity
Lack of capacity occurs when the decedent’s will was made after they had lost the ability to think clearly as in the case of dementia. One could argue that the decedent may have excluded someone unintentionally simply because they did not remember them.
Failure of formality
Failure of formality occurs when the will does not meet state law requirements to be legally binding. One example would be if there were not enough witnesses present at the time the will was signed.
There are other factors that may cause a will to be contested, such as clerical errors, divorce after the will, assertion that a newer will exists, etc. In many cases, the only way to be sure that the will can be overturned is to contest the will.
Estate administration professionals may help you make sure that your wishes are carried out through careful documentation. A professionally prepared estate plan is less likely to be overturned after your death.